MOSAIC awards: Deadline is April 30 to apply

March 27, 2023

By: MOSAIC Communications Team  

Each year, MOSAIC holds an annual awards ceremony, handing out scholarships to support further education for refugees and immigrants of various backgrounds, as well as an Employer Award and Human Rights Award. Applications are open until April 30, 2023.

Here are some highlights from last year’s awards and winners, and how winning a scholarship has helped change lives:

Dr. Kes Chetty Education Enhancement Award: Hanna Yihdego

The Education Award was named in honour of late MOSAIC board member, Dr. Kesval “Kes” Chetty, to award clients who wish to pursue further education in their post-secondary studies. Up to three deserving recipients are nominated by a MOSAIC staff member for a $1,000 award.

Hanna arrived from Eritrea in 2019 with her family. She became involved in MOSAIC’s youth programs, which helped her adjust to her new life in Canada and she was even featured in her own youth documentary. Hanna hopes to turn her passion for helping others into a future nursing career.

“MOSAIC really helped me to develop my communication, social and organizational skills that I usually get to apply in school with my schoolwork and friends.”


Educational Enhancement Award: Alejandra Perezalonso

Established in 2022, the MOSAIC Educational Enhancement Award is given to refugees and immigrants who have recently arrived in Canada and wish to pursue higher education. The MOSAIC Awards Committee will give six recipients, $5,000 each to help them in their academic or vocational studies.

Alejandra has a passion for connecting people through her love of baking. She fled political unrest with her family from her native Nicaragua in search of a new life and opportunities. With the Educational Enhancement Award, she was able to continue her culinary education at the Vancouver Community College.

“I am incredibly grateful and humbled with this scholarship MOSAIC has granted me,” Alejandra says. “For the longest time I thought it was going to take me years to save up enough in order to start my studies. Today, thanks to the Educational Enhancement Award, I can start making my dreams come true.”


Eyob G. Naizghi Scholarship: Sediqa Temori

The $5,000 scholarship is awarded to a female refugee for leadership development through education and training.

Among the struggles newcomers face in Canada, finding skills-commensurate jobs are chief among them. Sediqa’s psychology credential from Tehran University wasn’t recognized by employers in Canada, which encouraged her to go back to school. Sediqa’s first-hand experience as a newcomer and volunteering in the community gave her valuable experience in working with people from diverse backgrounds, which she feels is an advantage in gaining a role in the Canadian healthcare system.

“Most newcomers to Canada struggle . . . and some of them can’t find the right way for themselves,” Sediqa says. “Many of them need psychological support. Getting this award gives me the confidence to try again. I can continue my education in psychology here in Canada, so I can help others.”


Ann and Jo-Ann Sobkow Award: Maliheh Ardeshiri

Refugees who are 25 years old or older are eligible for a $3,000 award to advance their education in a helping profession.

Maliheh, a single mother, came to Canada from Iran with her daughter. She was dedicated to earning her Early Childhood Education (ECE) credential and worked part-time jobs at daycares and childcare facilities to build her experience. The Ann and Jo-Ann Sobkow Award helped support her in achieving her dream of helping children.

“I love working with people,” Meliheh says. “I love children. I believe children are the future, and [by taking my ECE course], I can make a difference in people’s lives.”


Human Rights Award: Andrea Montgomery Di Marco

The Human Rights Award is given to people for their outstanding contributions toward human rights advocacy.

Described by the MOSAIC community as “a motivational and inspirational woman making waves of change in the community,” Andrea strives to provide a voice for refugees, immigrants and Indigenous women in Canada through her volunteer experience at MOSAIC and in her grassroots non-profit, the Flourishing Foundation.

“I have always believed that if I do not stand up or speak up, who will? What happens to each of us, happens to all of us,” Andrea says. “Our inter-connection cannot be ignored or dismissed. We are all in this together.”


Employer Recognition Award: Uncommon Purpose

Formerly known as Traction on Demand, Uncommon Purpose received an award in recognition for its leadership of providing a workplace that supports multiculturalism and employment equity.

Uncommon Purpose takes ideas and turns them into business solutions. MOSAIC has worked in tandem with the company since 2019, to create new initiatives for newcomers to B.C., such as bootcamp training for immigrants who aspire to enter the Canadian workforce and internship opportunities.

Manu Varma, CEO of Uncommon Purpose accepted the award on behalf of the company.

“I’m excited to continue inspiring and motivating other private companies to embrace creating similar programs; to give what they are good at,” Varma says. “Picasso said it best: the meaning of life is to find your gift and the purpose is to give it away. At Uncommon Purpose, our gift is technology, and that’s how we want to give back.”


Review the eligibility criteria and if applicable, apply or nominate someone prior to the April 30 deadline. For more information on MOSAIC’s scholarships and awards and how to apply, read here.